San Diego Bay Wine Festival 2007 (Part 1/2)

Another exciting year at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival!

Lynn and I attempted to cover over 50 restaurants in 4 hours this year!

Concept Catering by CK (left). Smoked Salmon Potstickers with Mango Relish infused with truffles. Arterra Restaurant & Bar (right). Duck confit with marinated cucumber and tangerine chile glaze. We really liked the salmon potstickers with their unique fishy filling, but unfortunately the skin was soggier than normal due to the portable stove and a rush to quickly serve the growing crowd. The relish added a bit of sweet yet healthy touch to the dumpling but we thought it was a slight out of place for this appetizer. The duck confit immediately became one of our favorites after we popped the succulent sandwich-like sample into our mouths. The flavor of the duck had the perfect sweetness and the fresh cucumbers around it balanced it out by working as a compliment. -L

Two Peas in a Pod. A sweat pea hummus with a little bit of yogurt pancetta and fresh mint on a crostini. The hummus definitely had a nice slightly creamy feel in the mouth with a decent sprinkle of the pancetta bits and green. All in all, it wasn't too bad of an appetizer but the ratio of bread to topping led to a slightly drier mouth after consuming the samples. -L

Sage Cafe. Butterscotch creme brulee. This was a fabulous dessert! After piercing the crystalized sugar top layer, we dug out the creamy sweet insides and it melted in our mouths! -L

Rice Restaurant (left). Butternut squash lobster crepe with amaretto cherry and grand marnier orange reduction sauce. Romesco Baja Med Bistro (right). Taco. The crepe sounded interesting enough and it tasted pretty good too. The Romesco taco was surprisingly good. The meat was extra tender and the sauce had just the right amount of spice to it. -D

ChileCo. Moroccan "scotch" quail egg, quail consomme-cider sip. Wild sage n' elderberry smoked quail breast, quail confit n' coconut shu-mai. These items were presented on flat bamboo stalk with a slight concave dip in center. The shu-mai and smoked quail breast had some great flavor to it. Thats all I remember about it. -D

Jade Theater (left). Spicy tuna crab, stuffed shiitaki tempura style with a sugar spice with a thai vinaigrette and a sate sauce with a daikon salad. Harbor's Edge (right) at Sheridan Hotel in Marina. Asian braised short ribs. Jade's spicy tuna crab was one of my favorites at the festival. I had to go back for seconds later in the day! The braised ribs were just so-so. -D

Terra Restaurant and Catering. Kabocha squash and dungeness crab flan with chai tea smoked arctic char. I didn't like this one at all. Besides smelling like it just came out of the sea, it even tasted like it too! There was this strong saltiness to it and a strange tangy flavor that reminded me of ham... -D

The Guild Restaurant and Lounge (left). Thai inspired ceviche with seared hamachi carpachio. The Shores Restaurant (right). Braised kobe beef short ribs. Maple sweet potatoes. Micro chive sprouts and old vine Zinfandel sauce, chile oil. I can't remember how the ceviche tasted. Instead of chewing and savoring the flavor, I downed the whole thing like a shot. Probably not the correct method of eating it... but it was fun! As for the braised kobe beef, it was tender enough but was lacking flavor. -D

Sammy's Woodfire Pizza. Beets and lettuce? I wish they had served pizza instead! -D

Roppongi (left). Maine diver's sea scallop. Daikon dashi tempura green beans. Dynamite aioli, green tea salt. Pacific Del Mar (right). Maine lobster cocktail. Layers of napa cabbage poached maine lobster meat topped with kimchi foam garnished with micro cilantro sprouts and sesame cracker. Roppongi's sea scallop was super tiny. That photo above is about the actual size of it! Luckily the tempura was good enough to make up for it. It wasn't soggy as we expected it to be. Pacific Del Mar had a tasty lobster but that was it. The cabbage tasted plain and the cracker was average. -D

Oasis Bar & Grill. Grilled stripe bass with grilled finnel. Tomatoes and picholine olives with aged cherry vinaigrette. Lynn and I couldn't agree on this one. I liked it because of the vinaigrette flavor but Lynn didn't like it because of it. But the one thing we did agree on was the awesome little trays the stripe bass was presented on! -D

Sweet Cheeks. Carrot Cake. The carrot cake was a good snack between tasting the other foods.-L

Blanca Restaurant (left). Day boat diver scallop with vidalia onion-potato rosti, butter braised smoked onions nueske's bacon beurre blanc. Bernard's Restaurant (right). Orange zest sea ursin flan, center cut ahi tuna, lobster consomme, califlower mousse and orange tuile. The scallop was good but we didn't care much for the potato underneath. The bacon flavor was an interesting element. I just wish it was a bit more subtle in flavor. The orange zest sea ursin flan was weird. Weird bad. I thought it was supposed to be traditional flan but it was some kind of soup with ahi bits in it. -D

Horn Blower's. Sweet Potato carrot confection.

JRDN Restaurant (left). Braised lamb with eggplant caponata plus shaved manchego cheese. Dussini Mediterranean Bistro (right). Grillle and marinated red deer with swiss charred and roasted Montreal mushrooms. Braised lamb was somewhat boring. The shaved manchego cheese didn't help. I thought the marinated red deer was interesting though. I can't really judge the quality of it because I've never had red deer before but I liked it. -D

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